Fantasy football convention at Las Vegas casino canceled

ByTodd Archer ESPN logo
Saturday, June 6, 2015

IRVING, Texas -- The inaugural National Fantasy Football Convention in Las Vegas, headed by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, has been canceled because of the NFL's concerns with its connection to a casino property.

The three-day event from July 10-12 originally was scheduled to be hosted by the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. An NFL spokesman confirmed via email a Fox Sports report about the league's longstanding policy that it brought to the attention of the NFL Players Association, writing, "Players and NFL personnel may not participate in promotional activities or other appearances in connection with events that are held at or sponsored by casinos."

According to a source, players could have been subject to a fine or a suspension if they participated. A spokesman for the NFLPA said it would withhold comment until it had more information.

All of the sessions were to be held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, which does not have on-site gambling.

More than 100 players were expected to participate in the event, which would have allowed fantasy football players to connect with NFL stars in question-and-answer sessions and other activities. Stars such asRob Gronkowski, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray and Antonio Brown were among the players billed to be in attendance.

A source close to the event told ESPN's Darren Rovell that the players were due more than a combined $1 million in marketing or appearance fees.

Romo tweeted late Friday that he was disappointed by the decision.

A statement on the convention's website said, "This is a direct result of sudden and unexpected opposition taken by the NFL concerning player participation and their perceived association with gambling for an event in Las Vegas.

"We could not be more shocked and disappointed by the events of the past few days, and we want to extend our sincerest apologies for any inconveniences, frustrations, and disappointment this will undoubtedly cause. We also want to express our heartfelt gratitude for your support and interest in the National Fantasy Football Convention."

The NFFC said it will host its event next year in Los Angeles.

For those who have registered for the 2015 event, the NFFC will offer refunds or a complimentary benefit package to the 2016 convention.